Born Haji Mohammad, he was born into a devout Sunni Muslim family of Kashmiri Pandit ancestry in Gujrat, Punjab. His mother could recite a large part of the Qur'an from memory. During the violent days of the Partition of India in 1947 he, then filled with Muslim nationalist fervor, killed on one day two Sikhs, a father and his son. In his youth, Shaikh was a young ardent believer. He later killed another Sikh. But when he reached the age of 25, he began doubting Islam and later became an ardent critic, and memories of his crime have haunted him ever since. Thereafter he immigrated to the United Kingdom, married a Welsh woman, and became a successful businessman. The importance of Shaikh's work was recognised by Tariq Ali who devoted a chapter of his book The Clash of Fundamentalisms to his views and the reaction they provoked.
Shaikh was living in Cardiff, Wales, when a fatwa was issued against him from his homeland Pakistan in 1995, where at least fourteen clerics issued death sentences against him for renouncing and criticising Islam. He died in Wales on 25 November 2006.
Tariq Ali wrote that Anwar Shaikh has become famous among diaspora Muslims in Britain and many diaspora Muslims have been pleading with Muslim scholars to write a rebuttal of Anwar Shaikh's ideas.
Works (partial list)
- Islam: The Arab Imperialism, Cardiff, Principality, 1998.
- The Rushdie Affair: The Novel, the Ayatollah, and the West by Daniel Pipes, Pg. 283
- The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity, Page, Pg. 157-165
- on YouTube
- Tariq Ali,Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity (2002). ISBN 978-1-85984-679-7
- Islam Watch - Books by Anwar Shaikh
- on YouTube
- 1996 interview by Chandigarh Times, India (same interview)
- Arab Imperialism, by Anwar Shaikh - Book available online at Faith Freedom International
- Islam and the People of the Book - article by Anwar Shaikh